DOT under fire for oil train rules

Too many Americans in line of fire, advocacy groups say.

By Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Advocacy groups said they filed a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for not responding to calls to pull crude oil rail cars out of service.

The Department of Transportation in July published a 200-page proposal calling for the eventual elimination of older rail cars designated DOT 111 used to ship flammable liquids, "including most Bakken crude oil."


The increase in U.S. crude oil production is more than the existing network of pipelines can handle and industry officials say rail is the primary alternative transit method.

DOT-111 rail cars carrying crude oil have been involved in a series of disastrous derailments, including the deadly incident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in 2013.

Earthjustice, ForestEthics and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for not responding to a petition filed in July calling for a ban on shipping Bakken crude using DOT-111 cars.

Matt Krogh, campaign director with ForestEthics, said DOT-111 cars are "tin cans on wheels."

"We can't run the risk of another disaster like Lac-Megantic," Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman said in a statement Thursday.

U.S. regulators in January issued an advisory warning Bakken crude oil may be more prone to catch fire than other grades.


The North Dakota Petroleum Council in May published a study saying crude oil taken from the Bakken reserve area does not, as the U.S. Department of Transportation suggests, pose a greater risk when transported by rail.

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